Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Words Make a Difference

March 27, 2022

by Robert Stevenson

Highly successful people know, that before speaking, they need to consider the purpose behind their words. A little thought before we speak will make our words have more meaning and be more effective. I don’t care what your objective is … to help, persuade, inspire, teach, or sell … whatever your intentions are, choose your words wisely. HERE ARE 6 WORDS/PHRASES YOU SHOULD AVOID SAYING. They detract from your ability to make a point, your desire to continue a productive dialogue or they may simply offend the listener. 

“To be honest.” – Does this mean that everything you have said prior to this statement has been a lie? There is no reason to insert the phrase, “to be honest,” into a discussion. Whether you intend it or not, it causes people to wonder if you have been truthful the whole time.

“With all due respect” – This is the ugly cousin of “No offense, but…” You might just as well have said,“You are wrong. I can’t believe you said that.” You don’t buffer disrespect by saying your buffering disrespect.

“That makes no sense.” – This will surely shut down the conversation. It is a negative connotation that someone is stupid.

“Like” – This seems, for some people, to be their replacement word for “um.” The problem with using the word is it sends a message that you don’t know what to say next. Think about what you are going to say before your words are spoken. There is no harm in silent pause before you speak.

“It’s not my fault” – The moment you say this … everyone knows you are looking for someone else to point the finger of blame at. If you are to blame, own it, and present a solution.

“That’s how we do it around here” – That will put an end to innovation and improvement. It tells everyone around you that you are NOT open to suggestions and new ideas.

YOU HAVE TO BE BELIEVED TO BE HEARD and the only effective way to do that is by building TRUST. If you want to create TRUST you should consider incorporating the following words into your discussion or presentation: Accurate, Authority, Certified, Dependable, Endorsed, Factual, Genuine, Honest, Integrity, Protected, Proven, Respect, Research, Results, Scientific, Secure, Satisfaction, Tested, Trusted, True, and Verified.

A decision can be greatly influenced by how trustworthy you seem to people. A great technique for creating TRUST is to ask them if they would “allow” you to give them a few more details. Most people will respond to the word “allow” in a positive manner because they don’t want to “not allow” you to speak to them. Doing this will help soften resistance toward what you are suggesting or selling.

"I truly thought” or “I genuinely thought” is a subtle expression that is very effective in creating TRUST. People are more inclined to believe you if you seem sincere about your thoughts. So, employing the vulnerable first person to share your opinion, along with the gentle word "thought," helps you to convey what it is you're trying to say in a manner that's easy to believe.

Using the word “Trust” enhances trust. If you want someone to trust you, simply tell them that they can. There are many ways to impact trust, but the most direct way is just by saying “trust.”  In any form it still has a major impact. Here are a few examples: Trust us - Trust me - Trust the data - Trust the research - Can be trusted.

"Frankly" is better word to use than "honestly.”Saying “honestly” is often perceived to be a tip-off to dishonest words that will follow; the word "frankly" allows you to convey that you really do mean what you're saying.

Here are two extremely powerful TRUST building words: Competency and Caring. “Competency”is a great word to use . In fact, studies indicate, it has the highest trust factor of any of the words studied, improving the trust by 33%! Just by using the word “Caring” you can increase your trust factor by 11% with a client.

If you're careful with your word choice, others will definitely believe you more than they might otherwise. As I said at the beginning, I don’t care what your objective is … to help, persuade, inspire, teach, or sell … whatever your intentions are, chose your words wisely.

Change Your Words – Change Your World

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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